Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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Walsall Council’s First Full Meeting in 2012

by Ian Shires on 9 January, 2012

Walsall Council has its first Full Council meeting of 2012 this evening. It begins at 6pm and is held in the Council Chamber at the Council House.

Under the Cabinet and Scrutiny process the role of Full council is diminished compared with the Committee style of running council where all important decisions had to come to Full Council giving members of the public and councillors a chance to have an input into the decision making process.

The Cabinet and Scrutiny process concentrates power into the hands of a small elitist group of councillors, currently all Tories thanks to Labour, who sat on their hands back in May last year allowing the Tories to set up a minority administration in exchange for the Deputy Mayor’s job and a few Scrutiny Chairs.

On tonight’s Agenda will be the nomination for next year’s Mayor, the contentious issue of a recommendation to increase the pay of members of the Cabinet. The Liberal Democrat group has already said that it would not support any move to increase councillors pay whilst others were subject to a pay freeze and job losses.

The council is also being asked to agree the “Walsall Housing Strategy 2011-2016” which has been reviewed following being thrown out at the November 2011 Full Council meeting.

The Cabinet Members for Communities and Partnerships along with Leisure and Culture will also be briefing Council on the work that they have been doing.

The final item of the night will be a debate around a Notice of Motion put forward by the Liberal Democrat Group:-

This Council notes:

  • That British households currently spend more on heating their homes than their counterparts in Sweden where winter temperatures are far lower;
  • That this means a legacy of draughty, cold homes that are expensive to heat – leaving vulnerable local residents facing serious health risks;
  • An over – reliance on fossil fuels, leaving households and businesses exposed to soaring world energy prices

This Council recognises the role played by the coalition government in securing:

  • The Warm Homes Discount to give an extra £120 each year to the least well – off pensioners in Walsall to keep warm this winter;
  • A commitment from energy companies to help with free loft and cavity wall insulation for Walsall’s poorest households;
  • Fro October 2012, the Green Deal will aim to insulate all domestic and commercial properties to high standards at no upfront cost to consumers.

This Council resolves:

  • To support the Green Deal locally by ensuring local residents in Walsall know about the opportunities and helping direct them towards providers.
  • To investigate how else the Council can help with supporting home insulation work – for instance acting as a Green Deal provider itself;
  • To write to the Local Government Association and other appropriate national bodies with details of Walsall Council’s plans to keep its residents warm and tackle climate change;
  • To investigate ways that the Council can assist local residents to save money and keep warm through the provision of information and advice, including through working with partner agencies.
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